Their beaming smiles say a lot about the passion of the three university girls who chose to put effort into challenging deep-rooted norms in order to see change on the horizon.
Zeina El-Salamony, Farida Rashwan and Neamat El-Touby are three students in their final year at Egypt’s MSA University, who just launched the “Raise them well” campaign as part of their graduation project.
“The campaign has already taken off on various social media platforms, and will be distributed via print outlets soon,” El-Salamony told Ahram Online.
The students are using their campaign to battle the problem of gender-based differences in parenting. They say their aim is to help parents learn about the mistakes they make, their long-term effects, and how to prevent them.
The team explained to Ahramonline that they were prompted to initiate the campaign after observing how since the beginning of time, the differences in raising boys and girls has been prominent and obvious to many girls and women of this day and age.
Providing a historical overview, the students explain that mothers, grandmother, and great-grandmothers discuss the differences in the level of liberty and freedom that they had in contrast to the permission and independence that their brothers had.
“Although the topic has raised many eyebrows over the years, it has been all talk and no action," El Salamony says.
In turn, the students launched the campaign to raise awareness about the prejudice girls face as they grow, and the psychological turmoil that is created.
"As this happens, boys are affected too. Their personality is embedded with a sense of false superiority, which causes them to belittle females.
“When we view many of our traditions and culture, the differences in the upbringing in terms of sexes is remarkable. Arab culture raises girls to be inferior in society, while her male opposite is raised to be superior," El Salamony adds.
Zeina El Salamony
The students say that a clear example is the way parents discipline the child. In many cases, boys are pressured to be violent in order to "be a man", while girls are pushed to be quiet, polite, and obedient.
Describing the impact of these differences in parenting, they explain that on many occasions, girls are accustomed to being undermined, which leads to diminished self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
“With this campaign, the main goal is to overturn this mentality – as much as possible – and convince parents to raise their children as equals,” El Salamony concludes.
Neamat El Touby